It may be "so 10 years ago," but if last Saturday night was any indication, grunge is alive and well in our fair but grizzled city. Mudhoney's triumphant return to the stage packed Graceland to the gills on January 20, and just about everyone who was anyone for even a moment "back in the day" was in attendance. Everett True, in town fact-checking his soon-to-be-published book on grunge, Live Through This, nearly headbanged his noggin clean off, as the likes of Charles Peterson, Tom Price, Tammy Watson, Jason Finn, and Kim Warnick looked on. Ken Stringfellow, just back from R.E.M.'s South American tour, was also in the house, along with R.E.M.'s road manager and longtime Mudhoney handler Bob Whitaker, who, with his flawless comic timing, was the unbilled star of the evening. At various times during Mudhoney's set, Whitaker, hair and shoulders above the crowd (he's a uniquely coifed tall drink of water), could be seen flailing in the audience, making mysterious movements with his Indiglo watch and causing the band to giggle midsong. After launching Murder City Devils singer Spencer Moody into the air for some reluctant crowd surfing, Whitaker retired to the lounge, where, much to everyone's amusement, he began shouting, "I'M ON FIRE!" and "I'VE BEEN OVERSERVED!"--neither of which were true. However, my ultimate amusement for 2001 came when Whitaker reeled over to the booth where I was winding down with True, Moody, Kerri Harrop (a.k.a. DJ Cherry Canoe), Wm. Steven Humphrey, and Warnick. Without a second thought, Whitaker unfastened his jeans and--I see London, I see France, I see Bob Whitaker ain't wearing any underpants! Whitaker then proceeded to fall, timBER!!!!!!-style between the booth and the bar's front window, pants down and willy wagging in the wind. HEE!
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Mark Arm is the most beautiful man in rock. And that voice--how does he do it? Members of the Irish band Therapy? were also in the house, in town for a couple of months recording at Bob Lang studio with Jack Endino. The following night, Therapy? was seen sharing a booth at the Cha-Cha with members of the Black Halos, and all were still abuzz about the magnificent Mudhoney.